On Whitham's conjecture of a highest cusped wave for a nonlocal dispersive equation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAnnales de l'Institut Henri Poincare. Analyse non linéar. 2019, 36 (6), 1603-1637. 10.1016/j.anihpc.2019.02.006
We consider the Whitham equation ut + 2uux + Lux = 0, where L is the nonlocal Fourier multiplier operator given by the symbol m(ξ) = p tanh ξ/ξ. G. B. Whitham conjectured that for this equation there would be a highest, cusped, travelling-wave solution. We find this wave as a limiting case at the end of the main bifurcation curve of Pperiodic solutions, and give several qualitative properties of it, including its optimal C 1/2 -regularity. An essential part of the proof consists in an analysis of the integral kernel corresponding to the symbol m(ξ), and a following study of the highest wave. In particular, we show that the integral kernel corresponding to the symbol m(ξ) is completely monotone, and provide an explicit representation formula for it. Our methods may be generalised.